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Ukraine updates: Russian air assault strikes several cities

Published January 8, 2024last updated January 8, 2024

At least three people were reported killed, and dozens injured, in a large-scale Russian air attack targeting cities around Ukraine with a barrage of missiles and drones. DW has the latest.

Rescue workers on a pile of cinderblocks at the site of a Russian missile strike
Emergency workers in the central Dnipropetrovsk region remove a person from a building struck by a Russian missile Image: State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Dnipropetrovsk region/REUTERS
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • At least 4 killed, dozens more injured following 'massive missile attack' across Ukraine on Monday morning
  • Ukrainian authorities reported Russian attacks on Kyiv, Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Khmelnytsky
  • Ukraine's air force says it shot down 18 out of 51 cruise missiles and eight drones
  • Russia says it evacuated hundreds of people from Belgorod near Ukraine border 

You can find DW's full coverage of Russia's war in Ukraine here.

Skip next section Scholz berates EU allies over "insufficient" military support for Ukraine
January 8, 2024

Scholz berates EU allies over "insufficient" military support for Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday most of the European Union were failing to deliver sufficient weapons to Ukraine.

"As significant as the German contribution is, it will not be enough to ensure Ukraine's security in the long run," Scholz said at a news conference in Berlin.

"Therefore, I call on allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts regarding Ukraine," he added.

Germany had been criticized in the early months of Russia's invasion for failing to provide enough military support to Kyiv, but it has become one of the largest providers of weapons and financial aid.

Late last year, it agreed to double the country's military aid for Ukraine in 2024 to €8 billion ($8.8 billion).

"Europe must demonstrate that it stands closely with Ukraine on the side of freedom, international law, and European values," Scholz asserted.

The chancellor said he was confident the bloc would agree to its proposed 50 billion-euro aid package for Ukraine at an upcoming emergency summit on Feb. 1.

Skip next section Russia says its forces attacked 'Ukraine's military-industrial complex'
January 8, 2024

Russia says its forces attacked 'Ukraine's military-industrial complex'

The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that it carried out a combined attack on what it called "facilities of Ukraine's military-industrial complex" on Monday morning.

The strikes left four civilians dead and at least 30 more injured, Ukrainian authorities said. 

Russia said the operation involved "precision sea and air-launched long-range missiles."

Ukrainian commander-in-chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said all eight Iranian-made Shahed drones used in the attack were shot down, as were 18 out of 24 cruise missiles.

The rest, including four Kinzhal hypersonic missiles launched by MiG-31 fighter jets from Russian airspace, evaded Ukrainian air defenses and struck a string of urban areas across the country, including houses and a shopping mall.

Russia's Kinzhal missiles have regularly been intercepted by US-made Patriot air defense batteries which are stationed predominantly around the capital, Kyiv. Other Ukrainian cities are less well protected against the hypersonic projectiles.

"The enemy missiles which weren't intercepted didn't all hit their targets," added the Ukrainian Air Force on social media.

Skip next section Ukraine says it has exported 15m tons of cargo via new Black Sea corridor
January 8, 2024

Ukraine says it has exported 15m tons of cargo via new Black Sea corridor

Ukraine has exported 15 million metric tons (16.5m tons) of cargo through its Black Sea shipping corridor, including 10 million tons of agricultural goods, Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Tuesday.

Ukraine set up the corridor hugging the western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria in August after Russia withdrew from a 2022 UN-brokered Black Sea grain export deal and threatened to treat all vessels as potential military targets.

"Over the five months of the corridor's operation, 469 new vessels have called at Ukrainian ports for loading," Kubrakov said in a statement.

He said that 39 ships were currently being loaded in the ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi while another 83 vessels had confirmed readiness to call at the ports and export 2.4 million tons of various cargoes.

A major global grain grower and exporter, Ukraine says its exportable grain surplus totals 50 million tons in the 2023/24 July-June season. As of January 8, it had exported 19.4 million tons of grain.

Ukraine – Rerouting grain exports

Skip next section Ukrainian air force says 18 out of 51 Russian missiles destroyed
January 8, 2024

Ukrainian air force says 18 out of 51 Russian missiles destroyed

The Ukrainian Air Force says it managed to intercept 18 out of 51 missiles of various types launched during Monday morning's mass Russian air assault.

It said Russia had launched 32 cruise missiles, as well as eight Iranian-made "Shahed" drones in the direction of Odesa and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, and that all the drones had been shot down.

"Critical infrastructure facilities, industrial civilian and military facilities were attacked," the air force said, adding that it had detected 12 Russian bombers taking off from Russian territory.

Reporting from Kyiv, DW's Sonia Phalnikar said: "Most cities, including Kyiv, seem to have been spared the kind of massive damage when Russia launched a huge aerial bombardment of multiple Ukrainian cities in late December and earlier this year."

However, she cautioned that Ukraine's reliance on western air defense systems is greater than ever.

"The fear is that, if Moscow continues this pace and intensity of aerial assaults, we could see a scenario where Ukraine could be left without air protection. There is a real sense of urgency, with foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba urging western partners to provide more air defense systems, missiles and ammunition and saying that there is no Plan B if this does not happen," she said. 

Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, Kherson regional governor Oleksandr Produkin said that Russian troops have conducted 131 artillery attacks in the past 24 hours, killing two people and injuring five more.

Air raid alerts across Ukraine: Sonia Phalnikar reports

Skip next section Ukraine reports at least 3 dead in mass missile assault
January 8, 2024

Ukraine reports at least 3 dead in mass missile assault

The death toll from Monday morning's Russian missile assault on Ukrainian cities has risen to at least three, according to Ukrainian officials and media reports.

Two people were killed when at least six missiles struck critical infrastructure in the western Khmelnytskyi region, said officials.

Regional authorities in the northeastern Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-biggest city, said a 62-year-old woman had been killed after a missile attack "on a house."

Earlier, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne had reported that a woman was killed outside the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, where a further 24 people were injured, including five children.

Kryvyi Rih Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul reported that 15,000 residents were without power and that local trams and trolleybuses were not running.

"The mad enemy once again struck civilians," local governor Serhiy Lysak wrote on the Telegram messaging app, claiming Russia "directed missiles at people."

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kubela said: "The enemy fired dozens of missiles at towns and villages," confirming at least 33 injuries across the country.

The mass assault on Monday morning came as temperatures across Ukraine plummeted to between -11°C and -20°C (-12°F – -4°F).

Skip next section Belgorod parents requesting evacuation of children – governor
January 8, 2024

Belgorod parents requesting evacuation of children – governor

In the last 24 hours, local authorities in the Russian city of Belgorod have received "1,300 requests" to evacuate children to school camps outside the city, according to regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Gladkov said he had already established contact with his colleagues in the nearby regions of Voronezh, Kaluga, Tambov and Yaroslavl. "They are all ready to help us," he said.

Belgorod, located near the Ukrainian border, has been the target of increasing Ukrainian attacks in recent weeks. On Monday morning, the Russian ministry of defense said its forces had "intercepted" a Ukrainian S-200 missile "above the Belgorod region."

In a further sign of growing concern in the border region, local authorities have also postponed children's return to school, scheduled for January 9, until January 19.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is standing for re-election this year, with support for his war among the general population dependent on it not affecting everyday life in Russia.

Skip next section Russia 'viciously attacking peaceful cities' – Ukrainian official
January 8, 2024

Russia 'viciously attacking peaceful cities' – Ukrainian official

Ukrainian authorities have reported initial casualties sustained during a large-scale Russian missile attack on Monday morning.

A woman was killed just outside the southern city of Kryvyi Rih, hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and at least 24 people, including five children, were injured in the town of Novomoskovsk, just north of the city of Dnipro, according to Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne.

"The enemy is viciously attacking peaceful cities," said Oleksandr Vilkul, mayor of Kryvyi Rih, where more than 20 houses and a shopping center were damaged.

At least four people were injured in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv , when industrial facilities were hit by four missiles, resulting in a fire, Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on the Telegram messaging app.

Officials from the southeastern Zaporizhzhia city council said that at least five blasts had resulted in at least two injuries. "Missiles hit residential areas," regional governor Yuriy Malaskho said on Telegram.

Military officials in other cities, including Khmelnytskyi, have also said their cities were under a "massive missile attack" by Russia while air raid sirens sounded in the capital, Kyiv.

Nearly two years into the war that Russia started with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, both sides are struggling to make significant gains on the frontlines in the east and southeast of Ukraine and have shifted to increased air strikes against each other's territories.

Why the war in Ukraine is at an impasse

Skip next section Belgorod residents evacuated amid artillery strikes
January 8, 2024

Belgorod residents evacuated amid artillery strikes

Approximately 300 people have now been evacuated from the Russian city of Belgorod close to the Ukrainian border, according to regional officials.

The Russian border town has come under increasing attack from Ukrainian artillery over the past week, with at least 25 people killed and a further 100 injured on December 30.

That is reported to be the highest death toll from a single attack on a Russian city since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

"Around 300 residents of Belgorod who have decided to be temporarily evacuated are now being housed in shelters in Stary Oskol, Gubkin and the Korochansky district," which are further from the border, Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a video posted on Telegram.

Russia vows retaliation after attack on Belgorod

Skip next section Rescue efforts ongoing in Pokrovsk after Russian assault Saturday
January 8, 2024

Rescue efforts ongoing in Pokrovsk after Russian assault Saturday

Rescuers are continuing their search for victims in the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk after a Russian air attack on Saturday left at least 11 dead, including five children.

In the nearby village of Rivne, just outside Pokrovsk, a repurposed Russian S-300 air defense missile struck the house of a family of six, according to Ukrainian reports.

In his evening television address on Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked rescue workers, while Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said rescue efforts would continue.

"The force of the enemy attack was too strong, so this work will take time," he said.

Skip next section Russia launches massive missile assault across Ukraine
January 8, 2024

Russia launches massive missile assault across Ukraine

Several Ukrainian cities were targeted by the Russian Air Force in a large-scale missile attack on Monday morning, the Ukrainian military said. 

The Ukrainian Air Force posted a warning reading: "Kyiv – shelter!" on the Telegram messaging app, saying the capital was under threat of ballistic missile strikes.

Military officials in Kryvyi Rih, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv and Khmelnytskyi also said their cities were under a "massive missile attack" while there were reports of explosions in the south-eastern city of Dnipro.

Germany's dpa news agency, citing local observers, reported that cruise missiles – including hypersonic Kinzhal missiles – were launched from at least a dozen strategic bomber aircraft.

Air raid alerts were in place across the entire country.

mf/wmr (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)